Tele Liban employees strike over pay, social assistance amid Lebanon's economic crisis

Tele Liban employees strike over pay, social assistance amid Lebanon's economic crisis
Tele Liban's employees' union said their salaries had become worthless amid Lebanon's crippling economic crisis.
2 min read
02 June, 2022
Lebanese media outlets have suffered due to the country's economic crisis [Getty]

Employees of the state-owned television network Tele Liban launched a strike on Wednesday in a dispute over salary and social assistance payments.

The channel's employees' union said that their salaries and social allowances have become "worthless" in light of the Lebanese economy's downward spiral since the 2019 economic crisis, reported The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The strikers demanded an increase in salaries, and the reinstatement of cost of living allowances and social assistance payments that were stopped in November 2021, Tele Liban's union head Hanna Bawari told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

All productions including live programs and news bulletins were suspended, with the exception of coverage from the Presidential Palace, the  prime minister's headquarters, parliament, and the evening news, read a statement from Tele Liban as reported by the Lebanese daily L'Orient Du Jour.

The strike was meant to last 24 hours, but hit an obstacle when an employee broke the rules of the strike as set in the statement.

That and a meeting between the union information ministry officials in which the union listed their demands saw the strike brought to an end after just a few hours, Bawari said.

"The stakeholders indicated that the issue will take time depending on financial procedures and schedules, we will wait and hope to speed up the matter," he said.

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Like much of Lebanese media, Tele Liban has suffered during the economic downturn.

State corruption, the Covid-19 pandemic and crippling debts have exacerbated Lebanon's economic woes, with the World Bank describing the situation as one of the world's worst economic crises since 1850. Some three-quarters of Lebanon's population currently live in poverty.

In early May, now caretaker information minister Ziad Makary announced a telethon would be launched to help revive Tele Liban. The telethon is set to take place later this month.